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Purcell Construction declines industrial park annexation offer

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Responding to a recent proposal by Mayor Jeffrey E. Graham, Purcell Construction said it has no interest in having a planned 88-acre industrial park on outer Bradley Street annexed into the city of Watertown. Instead, Purcell Construction plans to pursue establishing water and sewer districts through the town of Pamelia for the industrial park.

In November, Purcell announced plans for the park with railroad access and space for up to 20 businesses on 88 acres of commercial land off outer Bradley Street at Interstate 81. The company bought the land Oct. 3 from Pyramid Cos., Syracuse, for $1.25 million. Only about 7 acres of the proposed industrial park are in the city, while the remaining land is in Pamelia.

On Monday night, Mayor Graham and Councilwoman Roxanne M. Burns countered by saying they oppose the water and sewer districts and would rather sell city water directly to Purcell.

The mayor also contended the Watertown City Council has the final say on the deal.

“This is not ordering a pizza,” Mr. Graham said.

Ms. Burns added she has reservations with the districts because Purcell would be the lone customer.

“That’s almost unheard of,” she said, adding that Pamelia would stand to gain financially if the parcel is not annexed.

Last month, Mayor Graham said it might be advantageous if the industrial park were in the city. He noted Purcell Construction could receive financial assistance and get help from the city to apply for other funding through the state. If the project is done in Pamelia, the developer would have to figure out how to get water and sewer service to it. If it’s in the city, Purcell would have to purchase those services from the city or go through the process of creating water and sewer districts in Pamelia.

Richard R. Gefell, Purcell’s project manager, and Pamelia Town Supervisor Lawrence C. Longway declined to comment.

At times, the relationship between the two municipalities has been prickly. For instance, Pamelia officials would not allow construction trucks to drive along Plaza Drive when the Creek Wood apartment complex was built on the city’s north side two years ago.

On Dec. 18, local attorney David A. Renzi, who represents the town of Pamelia, sent a letter notifying the city that the town plans to form a water and sewer district for Purcell’s development.

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